Every January I reread a book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It is the story of her family’s journey toward living a year on food they have grown, raised, or purchased locally. Her reasons are myriad, and the book details them beautifully. I love this book. I love Barbara Kingsolver. In fact, I am pretty sure we would be friends in real life (kind of like Anne Lamott and Adam Levine. I mean, if they just came over for dinner one night we would all have so much to talk about!). So I read the book every year, and I am inspired every year to make just one small change toward living a truly sustainable life. We grow an organic garden and raise our own chickens for meat and eggs (but no judging-I still haven’t watched enough YouTube videos to feel comfortable butchering them
To that end, we grow an organic garden and raise chickens for meat and eggs (but no judging-I still haven’t watched enough YouTube videos to feel comfortable butchering them myself. Maybe next year). I eschew the application of RoundUp not because I love me some weeds but because I can’t free-range the chickens if I use it. Plus, you know, the poison factor.
There is so much to a sustainable lifestyle that these seemingly small undertakings are actually quite complicated. It isn’t as simple as I thought it would, not by a long shot. It has taken me four years of planning and working and working some more and changing the plan and then STILL sometimes shit happens. Like my own dang dogs getting into my meat birds and killing every single one. Or being laid off from March to September with carpal tunnel surgery, which unhappily coincides with the entire growing season here in Idaho. This year, we won’t be able to eat produce I have canned/dried/frozen, and clearly, our chicken supply is much lower than anticipated.these setbacks, I haven’t quite figured out how to access and afford local food.
Even before these setbacks, I hadn’t quite figured out how to both access and afford local food. Or barring local food, even organic produce and grass fed meat. The neighbors up the road a piece have a dairy, but they aren’t overly neighborly neighbors (there may or may not have been an incident involving a pregnant dog-ours, with their wandering dog the culprit-and a BB gun. It’s now like the Hatfields and McCoys, Canine Edition). I am not willing to call them to ask if I can buy some of their raw milk. I don’t know anyone personally who raise grass fed beef for sale to the general public, and I also don’t know of anyone who grows and sells organic produce. Doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but clearly, I am not asking the right people.
But today I was reading an article about a pair of men who have teamed up to provide a solution to the problem of not knowing where to buy local. They created a company called Freshocal, which is something like an online farmer’s market. Only without the knitted toilet paper cover vendors or the free samples. You simply go onto the site, see what is available, and buy it. Then the order is delivered to your home in certain areas, or you have a designated pick-up place. In some ways, it is similar to Bountiful Baskets, with the addition of meat and eggs and milk.
I spent a lot of time browsing the site, checking out all of the options-single items like a gallon of raw milk or a pound of hamburger, or small packs with a variety of products. Several of them contained what I wanted but had things I don’t really need (like eggs), and there were a couple of items I wanted to substitute (raw milk rather than whole milk). I emailed the company with my questions and Spencer Mallett (one of the owners and my heck the man is 19 years old, people. Amazing!) replied. I told him what I wanted, gave him my estimated budget, and he came back with a weekly recurring pack specifically for my family. Look at this!
I know that this particular company only serves our area, but I am going to go ahead and guess that more populated places have something similar. There are tons of places that have CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), which is a great option for fresh, local food. They used to offer only seasonal produce, but I believe that some CSA’s also offer dairy or eggs or other non-produce items.
Maybe more “normal” people wouldn’t get so excited about this, but my excitement goes back to the title of this post. Dude, Food. How can you not be excited about the opportunity to consume fresh, organic produce and eat grass-fed beef without going broke? Why isn’t everyone excited about this? I haven’t gone off on my diatribes (yet) about how the foods we put into our bodies affect absolutely everything in those same bodies, or how important it is to support local farmers and business, and how to live a truly sustainable life you actually have to stop and think about how many miles a ripe tomato has to travel to get to you in January. I will, but for now, there is this:
Food is important. Food is fuel. Food is good.